My great-grandmother and grandmother died from diabetes complications. I am haunted by the fear of following the path of my ancestors and losing my feet, and of passing the disease along to my daughter.
And, I LOVE sugar. But I am not alone. Each year, Americans consume an average of 152.4 pounds of caloric sweeteners, and about 65,000 people lose a lower limb due to complications from diabetes. This is 5,416 people a month, 7 people an hour, or one amputation every 8 minutes.
I see my personal struggles with diabetes reflected in our national consciousness, and my perceived need for sugar as an extension of US colonialism and resource consumption.
According to a congressional report, 1,795 Iraq and Afghanistan military personnel received lower limb amputations from 2001-2010; And both corn and weapons manufacturing are subsidized and encouraged through governmental policy—the corn syrup we use to fuel our bodies creates personal disease while the fuel we steal to run our machines creates global dis-ease.
Made from pressed sugar, The “Phantom/Sugar Feet” create a visual reminder that our connection to the earth is being severed by our endless unbridled consumption and greed; they honor personal loss and acknowledge the presence of what haunts us; they seek to connect personal disease with loss of resources, as well as with social and political dis-ease.